‘Bull’ Winter Premiere Recap: Is Technology to Blame in the TAC Team’s Latest Case?

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Bull tackles a case of self-driving cars and unrequited love in the winter premiere, titled “E.J.” After a man is killed by auto impact, Bull takes the case of the vehicle’s company CEO, who insists that her technology wouldn’t have harmed anyone. But when another man is found killed, can Bull really trust his client? Let’s find out.

The Crime and the Case

“E.J.” begins with a look at Adam, an employee at Ejetto Technologies, moments before his death. He’s at an obstacle course set up to test the maneuverability and speed of the company’s self-driving car. All seems to go according to plan, as the car comes to a stop near Adam. He inserts a thumb drive into the mainframe of the vehicle; there’s a screen inside the car with a projection of a man called E.J. But when the thumb drive takes too long to upload the latest vehicle upgrade, Adam quickly pulls it out, rushing so he can see a soccer game. Then before Adam can even process what’s happening, the car speeds forward, hitting him and crushing him against a wall of an obstacle course.

Ejetto Technologies needs Bull’s help to prove that their car and their technology are not to blame for Adam’s tragic death. Adam’s widow, Erica, believes it’s the company’s fault and is seeking revenge, dismissing an out-of-court settlement in favor of justice. Ejetto Technologies CEO Ginny Bretton arranges for one of her cars to pick up Bull so they can speak, and he happily obliges, obviously inquisitive of the car’s design.

Speaking to Company Employees

While Ginny is distraught at the idea that her creation has hurt anyone, she also can’t find any information that would indicate that E.J. was at fault. She’s combed through the system’s coding, running it through a scanner, and can’t find anything faulty. Two of her employees, Carter and Dean, believe that Adam was at fault. They recall that he’d often come to work late or fallen asleep on the job, and as evidenced by his refusal to wait for the thumb drive update, he clearly didn’t follow the company’s security protocols.

However, Bull notices that something seems off about Carter, who had shared that he’s been working with Ginny since their middle school days and had helped start Ejetto Technologies. Bull learns that Carter is a recovering drug addict and could stand to make money by blackmailing Ejetto Technologies over their faulty code. However, Ginny doesn’t think Carter would do that to her or the company. Plus, she shares that she had revoked his access into E.J.’s programming, so he couldn’t change E.J.’s code if he wanted to.

Impersonating a Hacker

Cable knows that there’s something up with thumb drive. She finds that there’s mysterious code that she can’t hack into, and she’s determined to figure it out. She enlists the help of a fellow hacker who goes by the name Sarcoma, but she needs Bull’s help. Sarcoma will only meet with the hacker Goliath, so Bull needs to pretend to be him in order for the TAC team to decode the thumb drive.

After a quick wardrobe change, Bull’s ready to impersonate Goliath. After putting on an aggressive performance of smashing a tablet onto the floor, Bull is able to convince Sarcoma that he’s the hacker he’s been dying to meet. Sarcoma buys it and starts work on decoding the thumb drive, uncovering 300 pages of code in under two minutes. But their joy at finding this hidden code is quickly cut short by Danny’s discovery that Ginny has visited Carter at his house — a suspicious move.

When Bull confronts Ginny about this, she lies and tells him that she was at home and went to bed early. Chunk points out that her body language clearly indicates that she’s lying, but she remains mum.

Gaining the Jury’s Support

The TAC team has more pressing matters to address. In court, Benny speaks with Adam’s widow, Erica, on the stand, asking questions that quickly get under the jury’s skin. But his questions serve a purpose — they upset Ginny, who stands up in court and apologizes directly to Erica about her lawyer’s behavior. This earns her some favor from the jurors, switching a juror over to her side.

To gain the support from the other jurors, Bull arranges for them to have the opportunity to take a ride in one of Ginny’s self-driving cars. Using Benny as the scared passenger, he suspects — rightfully so — that a few jury members will hop in the car just to prove that they’re not as afraid as Benny. This works and snags another two jury members over to Ginny’s side.

Uncovering the Code

Cable, meanwhile, has gone through the 300 pages of code that Sarcoma decrypted. She finds that it’s all a backdoor, a code that enables other coders or hackers to enter the system via another method. The team believes Carter implemented it, which is later proven when they compare the coding to his previous work. Danny and Bull take a ride to talk to Carter but find that the man is dead in his car from an apparent heroin overdose. However, after cops arrive on the scene, Bull notes that if Carter had wanted to kill himself, why would he buckle himself into his seat?

Ginny finally admits that she had confronted Carter about the backdoor coding, but she said that he swore he had nothing to do with Adam’s death. He only wanted to punish her by weakening her technology and potentially putting an end to the company. He loved Ginny, but she was practically married to her work, which made him feel that she valued her job more than their friendship.

Bull asks Ginny what’s driven her to pursue E.J.’s development so strongly. He suspects that she lost something long ago that’s given her the passion and drive to keep working on the technology. He admits that he’s also lost people along the way on his journey to success. With further prompting from Bull, who pulls up a picture of a man named Evan Johnson, Ginny reveals that she loved Evan, but he died in a car crash 10 years ago. She was driving the car, and even though the night was dark and rainy, she blames herself for his death.

Revealing the Truth

Bull tries to convince Ginny to testify in court, admitting Carter’s backdoor coding caused Adam’s death, but she refuses. She wants to fix E.J., and Bull can’t seem to convince her to do anything else.

On the way to court, in the back of a self-driving car, Bull and Ginny talk, but their discussion is cut off by their car speeding off, locking the doors so they can’t escape. Bull calls Cable, telling her about the situation and instructing her to hack into the car to get it to stop. Cable does but finds that it’s still being hacked, so after further direction from Ginny, she floods the system with code and is able to flush out the virus, stopping the vehicle right before it drives into a river. After such a scary experience, Ginny agrees that she’ll testify in court.

On the stand, Ginny admits that Adam’s death was the result of a man with malicious intent and that she has the evidence to prove it. The jury, after deliberating, finds her company not liable. Out of court, Ginny approaches a distraught Erica and offers her settlement money, citing that, even though her company won the case, they both lost Adam.

Bull then speaks to Dean as he leaves the courtroom. Bull informs him that he’s responsible for the murders of Adam and Dean and that he’s called the cops. The police arrive and arrest him.

Bull and Ginny meet one final time at the riverside road where Evan was killed. Ginny lets Bull know that she realizes that he and Cable were behind her car’s latest “joyride” but isn’t angry, understanding that it was the only way to get her to testify. Ginny, accepting the end of her company, shuts E.J. down and throws its screen into the water. After Ginny leaves, Bull makes a phone call to someone he says he’d left behind, someone named Amy.

What did you think of this episode of Bull? Who do you think Amy is? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

Bull season 1 airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on CBS. Want more news?
(Image courtesy of CBS)

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